Startup Ideas: Wouldn't it be cool if...13 Aug 2020
I’ve been jotting down startup ideas as they come to me for years. Most, if not all of them, are terrible. I thought it would be fun to share some of them, in case they are helpful to someone brainstorming:
- Website uptime insurance — We know that brief website outages can be extremely costly, especially for high-volume e-commerce sites. For example, Amazon had partial outages on Prime Day back in 2018 and it cost them upwards of $75 million. The challenge is that engineers can intentionally bring down websites, so you would have to have some sort of way to insure only certain kinds of outages. To get historical data, you could ping the website every x seconds to see what sort of uptime baseline each website has.
- Contextual info for Google Calendar — It would be interesting if there was a tool that could give you helpful information about each one of your upcoming events. For restaurant reservations, you’ll get top-rated meals. For sales pitches, you’ll get content on how to sell. For virtual social gatherings, you’ll get some fun, zoom-friendly games to play. If the product is really good here, there’s an opportunity to sell ads as well.
- Fruit/vegetable washing machine — It always seemed sort of dumb to me that you go to a grocery store, you pick your fruits/vegetables off the shelf, you put them in a bag, and then you have to wash them when you get home. Why not wash them before putting them in those produce bags? Grocery stores already sell pre-washed produce in plastic containers. What about a “washing machine for produce” that you could use at the end of your shop or before you put the fruit/veggies in those plastic bags? Maybe it wouldn’t be hygienic and it possibly would make the food spoil faster, but these are things to look into. Just a fun thought.
- Alcohol-free bar — About 30% of Americans don’t drink alcohol. What if there was a bar catered to them? The drinks could be similar to what a smoothie bar serves, but with a bar atmosphere. The menu would have to be entirely non-alcoholic. If the smoothies are tasty enough, I think a lot of health-conscious alcohol-drinking people would enjoy the change of pace.
- Tablet-based online preschool — 60% of 3-year-olds don’t attend preschool, usually due to cost. I wonder if someone could build a much cheaper preschool that was entirely virtual, live-sessions, and tablet-based. A hard, and maybe impossible challenge, but something worth trying. Studies have shown that increased screen time in toddlers is associated with poorer verbal skills. However, these studies are correlative rather than causative.
- Tom’s model but for dress clothes — Why not make a buy-one give-one company for dress clothes? There are already nonprofits out there ready to distribute dress clothes to people in need of professional attire. Probably not the right time to start something like this with sales for dressy attire way down due to COVID.
- Enterprise Security as a Service — When a software vendor is trying to sell its product/service to an enterprise, there is always a security and privacy audit of the vendor. There are standardized security and privacy certificates that vendors can get approved for (ex. SOC 1 & 2). But, wouldn’t it be great if there was a 3rd party that did a deep audit of a company’s security and privacy and shared that with prospects? This company could also answer the common security and privacy questions that will be asked by vendors. It would save tons of time on both sides!
- Voice-assistant necklace — Some people don’t hear well. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a device that was listening, and if the wearer pressed a button or said “what”, it would repeat what it just heard? Maybe it would just save the last minute of audio and delete everything else. Of course, there are lots of privacy concerns and usability questions, but I think there is be a market for something that can help people with hearing loss better participate in conversations.
- Better use of utm_term — When a user clicks a Google ad, the destination website is sent a parameter in the URL called the utm_term. This field stores the search query that the user searched on Google. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a tool that could dynamically change your website to reflect what the user searched in the utm_term?